Stage Designs of Richard Finkelstein

Full Site Index | What's New on the Site?  | Tour the Best Designs

Richard Finkelstein
630 Stonewall Dr
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

finkelrs@gmail.com
Finkelstein Stage Designs - simplified resume
SIMPLIFIED RESUME
Dance Photography by R. Finkelstein
DANCE PHOTOGRAPHY
Dance Artwork by Richard Finkelstein
DANCE ARTWORK

WORKS IN PRINT

VIRTUAL REALITY
Fine Arts Photography by R. Finkelstein
FINE ARTS PHOTOGRAPHY

THEATRE PHOTOGRAPHY

THEATRE PERSONALITIES

THEATRE ARCHITECTURE PICS
R. Finkelstein - web designs
WEB DESIGNS
Set Design and Lighting Design by R. Finkelstein
STAGE DESIGNS
CLICK THUMBS TO THE RIGHT
OR LINKS BELOW

All work on these pages
is 2014 R. Finkelstein

 

The Desperate Hours -  Presented by Barter Theatre, October, 2008. Directed by Rick Rose, with scenery by Richard Finkelstein, lighting by Lucas Benjamin Krech, and Costumes by Kimberly Stockton. Technical Direction was by Mark DeVol

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

 

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

 

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

 

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

 

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

 

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

 

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

 

The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes - Barter Theatre - Directed by Rick Rose - Scenery by Richard Finkelstein - Lighting Design by Lucas Benjamin Krech

Concept sketch

 

Context / Pretext:

Designing at Barter Theatre involves a number of challenges. It is one of the oldest theatre companies in America (It earned the very first Tony Award for a Regional Theatre). As I understand it, it is in the second oldest theatre in America as well. There is thus a low proscenium and wooden grid, with no fly-space. There is however a decent degree of stage space to the Right side and in the rear.  Besides physical limitations, the company is extremely busy, producing around 30 shows each year! These are mostly produced in rep in pairs, with changeovers happening most every day.  In this specific case the logistics were made more difficult as the other show in production on the stage was Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  As Beauty was so large, Desperate Hours had to be built in only a week and a half!  It also had to be designed in a way that could be stored while Beauty and the Beast was being performed.   Much of the credit for pulling of this logistic miracle should go to the Technical Director, Mark DeVol.

As realized, this was an extremely physical production with things flying and tables overturned violently each performance. This of course added another degree of complexity to the production.

Description:

The main set, the house, filled the entire area within the proscenium, while the sheriff's office was to the left, and the attic set to the right.  The physical design inspiration came from the design of a real house, modified to a great degree in adding the second story, development of the dining room, and allowing for the porch to be seen through the front window. The desire was for the house to look real and not like "scenery". 

The color palette was very disciplined internally and between the elements of scenery, costumes, and lighting as well. The overall color feel was "champagne" with some accents in black, and dark gray.  The side stages deviated slightly from this as they were part of the "outside" world.

The setting included two stories of the house as well as an area outside on the porch. Beyond the modern fireplace could be seen glimpses of the dining room. There were also lots of hallways and paths to other portions of the house.

Conceptualization:

So often when there is a horrendous crime, one hears the refrain "It can't happen here". Clearly we are delusional! Our own cocoon's of safety are but an illusion.  To make this clear, I wanted to provide a showcase of a house, and to make it as real and as welcoming as it could possibly be. It should be the type of house we might all like to live in.  I also wanted to to have a touch of sterility depicting a world where troubles are left out of sight.

Beyond the use of real architectural inspiration, there are other inspirations here. Some might see a glimpse of The Brady Bunch.  Indeed, the innocence of the Brady world is a perfect image as its existential virginity is about to become violated. The design of  The Brady Bunch was also not typical of sit-coms of the period in that Mr. Brady was an architect.   Much of the architectural world of the 1960s and 1970s was mediocre.  In this design I wanted to pay homage to better examples of the architectural art.

Lest one reach the wrong conclusions in mention of The Brady Bunch, the astute observer will also see the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright's horizontal linear work emphasizing natural textures.  There is also inspiration in this design from the work of Ken Adams, designer of many of the James Bond films that set so much of our architectural vision of the 1960s.

In the arena of inspiration, I was able to draw on some of my own memories as well. While growing up, my grandfather, the owner of a wine bottling firm, purchased a farm and once the old house burned down, proceeded to build a true showplace of modern architecture with 16' cathedral ceilings and a fireplace that intruded into the center of the room with the natural stone chimney extending up through the tall ceiling. As a little boy the feel was quite overwhelming.  Later growing up in Baltimore, some good family friends owned a major art gallery and they had built a custom-designed multi-million dollar home. The feel was quite similar to what we now have here. Interestingly their entire home was white including pure white plush carpet throughout.....a strange choice for a family that then had three toddler children. Perhaps this image contributed to my thoughts of safety as an illusion. I bet that carpet saw many an "accident".

The idea of this setting was to establish a womb-like protective environment that proves to be an illusion, easy to violate.  To this end the idea it was important to build a distinction between internal and external worlds. On one hand we were careful to provide means by which what is inside the house could be hidden from the outside. But on closer examination the defense is a bit like Swiss cheese. There are windows everywhere, and so many maze-like pathways to other parts of the house. The family FELT safe while not BEING safe. Interestingly, the same path is taken by the invaders as it becomes clear that their own "safe-house" is less than that.

Much of my work is approached through an analysis of movement patterns and this is a perfect example which was exploited expertly by director, Rick Rose. It is all about corners, nooks, and crannies. It is like a chess board and a maize. The house onstage is designed like an iceberg so that the audience will accept that what they are seeing is but a glimpse of a much bigger environment than they can see.  This is in contrast to the external environments that are decidedly cramped.

All parties to this production worked hard to achieve a coordinated degree of "authenticity". The lighting by Lucas Krech helped to pull the elements together by being wonderfully "motivated" and sculptural as well as quite dramatic in its angularity.

Although the architecture of the space took its inspiration from the 1960s and 1970s, this version of the play was updated to the current, most likely as part of the drive towards the authentic